sir aye aye

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The correct and seamanlike reply on board ship on receipt of an order. In the days when officers were rowed ashore, or to their ships, ‘Aye aye’ was also a boat's reply in the Royal Navy when hailed from a ship if it had a commissioned officer below the rank of captain on board. If no commissioned officer was on board, the reply was ‘No No’; if a captain was on board the reply was the name of his ship, and if an admiral, the reply was ‘flag’. Boats were hailed in this fashion so that those on watch would know the form of salute required when officers arrived on board.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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